Attorney General Eric Holder says the growing heroin epidemic "sneaked up" on the U.S.

Speaking Wednesday in Washington, DC Holder said the consciousness of the nation has not been focused on heroin. He argued it is rapidly becoming a national issue.

Holder urged more first responders to start carrying naloxone, a drug that can counter the effects of heroin overdoses. More than a dozen state have passed laws expanding access to naloxone.

Holder also noted that the DEA has boosted enforcement of heroin trafficking in the U.S.

[Metro Networks]